Mao offered Kissinger 10 million Chinese women

USAToday's "OnDeadline" blog finds some choice morsels from newly released transcripts of Henry Kissinger's 1973 meeting with Mao:

You know, China is a very poor country," Mao is quoted as saying during the exchange. "We don't have much. What we have in excess is women. So if you want them we can give a few of those to you, some tens of thousands."

The Chinese leader drew laughter when he returned to the proposition a few minutes later. "Do you want our Chinese women? We can give you 10 million." he said, adding: "We have too many women ... They give birth to children and our children are too many."

It's not clear whether Mao is at all serious -- he was a pretty crazy dude, after all -- but Kissinger's response is precious:

It is such a novel proposition, we will have to study it.


Who killed Imad Mougniyah?

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It seems like a no-brainer that Israel was behind the killing of Hezbollah leader Imad Mougniyah. Israel's Mossad doesn't blanche at assassinations; it has Jewish agents of Arab descent that can blend into a place like Damascus undetected; and the Israelis certainly have ample motive to take him out. Israeli officials, while denying their country's involvement, haven't been able to hide their glee at Mougniyah's death.

While extremely likely, it's not a slam dunk that the Mossad pulled off this hit. Sunni countries in the region -- such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia -- also have the means and the motive to get rid of him, to say nothing of the United States. Nor is it outside the realm of possibility that the Syrians or even the Iranians dropped a dime on Mougniyah in a quid pro quo arrangement with the Americans. The Syrians, though, say they have "irrefutable" evidence of the killer's identity that they will make known soon. Syria still denies involvement in a string of hits on anti-Syrian lawmakers in Lebanon, so the country doesn't have a lot of credibility these days. The revelations will certainly be interesting nonetheless. Pass the popcorn.